Grad Schools Press 'Soft' Skills

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Graduate business schools are spending more time on "soft skills" - things like team work, leadership and communication.

"It isn't just nice - these interpersonal skills," Warren Bennis, a professor at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, told The Wall Street Journal. "It's about stuff that's necessary to lead a complex organization." Evelyn Williams of Stanford's Graduate School of Business, said the idea is to ensure that MBA students can "do" as well as "pontificate." Stanford will soon require all first-year MBA students to take personality tests, take part in team and management exercises and work with executive coaches.

Similarly, MIT's Sloan School of Management now requires its first-year students to work with second-year coaches on leadership and communication skills.

The reason for this new-found attention to soft skills is in the job market: Employers want more effective leaders who can both manage increasingly complex, often global, businesses and develop staffs who are themselves more sophisticated.

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